Mad Like Alyce

Giving up on the idea of “Career”

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what I really want out of life. I’ve been in my career for 6 years, and I was already burning out. When a friend of mine quit her job in September to take a 6 month break for herself to figure out where she wanted to go in life… I was sick with jealousy. I had been tired and frustrated. I felt out of control and trapped; spinning my wheels and running in place at the same time.  I’m going to be working for the rest of my life, and I was already exhausted.

These past few months have really helped me start to identify what I really want out of life. Meaning… I have no idea what I want. I’d worked so hard to build this elusive idea of a “career”.  I see it everywhere around me. People killing themselves to build up a career. But no matter what we do, how hard we push ourselves, a career should happen naturally… a series of jobs within an industry. You can have a “career” as a server.

So… what does make me happy?

Yet, even though my resume looks great, I wasn’t happy. Thinking back to the times I was happiest in life, I realized that the jobs I loved were ones that:

  1. Made me feel valued
  2. Where I was helping people
  3. Had great work life balance
  4. I wasn’t making as much money

The last one threw me for a bit of a loop, but it was true. The jobs where I have made more money were always higher stress positions, or for people paying more money because they had greater demands on my time. With my last position, I learned that there are some jobs where I simply wouldn’t keep it if I was making $1,000,000. For the longest time, I thought that making a healthy salary equated success… but I have even had my views on a  “healthy” salary challenged. Living on a lot less makes you think a lot harder about what you really need to be happy.

More than that, however, I realized a key difference between the jobs where I was stressed and unhappy and those where I was happy is that I was happiest when I worked at jobs simply because I enjoyed them. I wasn’t thinking about how much I made, or how it fit into my career path, or how it looked on my resume. I thought about how I loved who I worked with, loved what I was doing. And on the days I didn’t, I clocked out, went home, and went on with my life. I wasn’t worrying about how losing one job could irreparably damage my career or become a black mark to my resume. I wasn’t worried about losing health insurance. I was learning, and living and loving life. It was a job, not a career. I was driven, had pride in my work, and enjoyed my life a hell of a lot more.

Separating myself from my “Career”

The fact is, if money was no object I would continue learning. I would change jobs when things weren’t working for me. I wouldn’t be afraid of losing a job because I knew that I would just move to the next one… the next thing. Something that would make ME happy. I have realized that the term “job” has somehow (at least in my mind) been turned into a bad thing. A job somehow became the lack of a career. But the truth is that a job is for the employee… and the career is for the employer. I’m done subscribing to the idea of the career. I’m subscribing to the idea that I can get a great job, and be a great employee. The career will just happen naturally as the progression of jobs happens.

If I won the lottery, I would continue my education and would take jobs to enjoy myself, where I felt I could make a difference. The odds are that I will never win the lottery, but living to make myself happy… that is absolutely something I can do.

A light in the darkness

As soon as I made this revelation I felt more free than I had in years. I am watching friends and family around me killing themselves for jobs, making themselves miserable trying to get ahead in a “career”. We don’t get this time back. Not a second of it. I, for one, am done wasting it on anything else than being my best self. Both at work, and in life.

Hello!

Hi! I'm Alyce.
Welcome to my journey towards living a happier and healthier life while living with PTSD and chronic pain... and never letting it keep me from my passion for Halloween, cooking, and way too many DIY projects... all at the same time!

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